St. Petersburg’s most iconic site after the Hermitage Museum, the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood is known for its elaborate façade and brightly colored onion domes. Officially the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, the magnificent church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881.
No city tour of St. Petersburg is complete without a visit to the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood; most sightseeing tours and shore excursions include at least a photo stop at the famous landmark. Many tours combine a visit to the church with St. Petersburg attractions like the Hermitage Museum, the Winter Palace, and the Peterhof Palace Gardens; a cathedral tour, which often includes the St Isaac's Cathedral and Kazan Cathedral, will also stop here.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Lines can be long, especially in peak season, so pre-book a skip-the-line ticket.
- The church now serves as a museum and no longer holds services.
- Most areas of the church are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Located along the Griboedov Canal just off Nevsky Prospekt, the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood is hard to miss. The closest subway stations, both a short walk away, are Nevsky Prospekt and Gostiniy Dvor.
When to Get There
The church is open to visitors daily except Wednesdays, year round, with extended evening hours between May and September. The busiest time to visit is during the peak summer months (July and August ), when it’s best to plan an early-morning visit to avoid the crowds.
Architecture of the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood
Completed in 1907, the church’s design was inspired by traditional Russian architecture, as well as St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow and the Vladimir Cathedral in Kiev. The interior, designed by some of the most popular Russian artists at the time, features more than 7,500 square feet (697 square meters) of mosaic tiles on the walls and ceilings. Additional highlights include a large icon of St. Alexander Nevsky, the mosaics’ intricate biblical scenes, and an ornate shrine located on the exact spot where Tsar Alexander II was killed.
The church endured significant damage over the years, first in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and later during the Siege of Leningrad during World War II, when it was used as a morgue. Restoration began in 1970; the church reopened to the public as a museum in 1997, but it was never reconsecrated.